Here are some offshore jurisdictions where bearer shares are still available today:
|Country||Mobile Bearer Shares||Immobilized Bearer Shares|
Since ownership of the share is not registered in any way, bearer shares lack any meaningful regulation and control and as a consequence can be used for illegal purposes, including tax avoidance. … Due to the problems outlined above, all 50 of the United States have now outlawed bearer shares.
Bearer shares are not allowed. Issued shares must be fully paid. Any physical person can be the beneficial owner. Information about the beneficiary is not reflected in the Registrar.
Luxembourg chose to deal with the issue of bearer shares through immobilization. A new law regarding the immobilization of bearer securities came into effect on April 17th 2014. Bearer shares now need to be deposited with a professional depository in Luxembourg.
However, in November 2018, Switzerland decided to proceed with the legal abolition of bearer shares, at least for unlisted companies, and pushed the Bill through parliament, adopting it in June 2019 as amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering Act. The government has now announced the timescale for its provisions.
Federally incorporated entities are permitted to issue bearer shares. There are no requirements that bearer shares need to be converted into registered shares or held with a regulated financial institution or professional intermediary.
In August of 2013 the National Assembly of Panama passed Law 47 adopting a system for custodial care of Panama bearer shares. … Panama bearer shares can be given to anyone who will automatically become its new owner. Law 47 of 2013 goes into effect on August 6, 2015.
Shareholders and Directors
Shareholders may be of any nationality but all New Zealand companies must have at last one NZ Resident Director. If more than 25% of the shares or a majority of Directors reside outside New Zealand the company has to file annual financial accounts. … Bearer shares are not allowed.
Bearer shares are not permitted under Australian law but bearer share warrants may still be issued (though it is understood that they are used infrequently).
The issuance of bearer shares is allowed in Germany and there are no comprehensive mechanisms to prevent their misuse. Germany has presented an amendment to the Stock Corporation Act which provides for the immobilization of bearer shares.
UK companies will be prohibited from issuing bearer shares. … If bearer shares are not surrendered and exchanged, they will need to be cancelled and relevant monies paid into court by the company. This will ensure bearer shares are completely eliminated from the UK business environment.